The First Against the First: Behold, Ignorance

 

As fundamental as it may seem to our Republic, the ideals protected by the First Amendment are a topic of much confusion. The when, where, why, and how of Free Speech has become more about political leverage than the protection of a Natural Born Right. The blurred lines of defense, perhaps by intent, is a study in ignorance shocking to behold.

There is a line of transition between the public sector and private sector. All speech, devoid of physical violence, is protected by the First in the public arena. Still, private entities have the right to curtail speech, which violate the charters, statements of faith, and rules which govern them.

Through ignorance, we have now turned the protections of Free Speech on its head. Powerful forces on the Left, under the guise of tolerance, are steadily pushing to eliminate free speech in the public space. Some on the Right, in their zeal to defend the tenets of the Constitution, have challenged the rights of private entities to curtail speech, unwittingly opening the doors for the Left to attack private groups.

Private groups have the right to hold to beliefs or rules that guide or govern them. Some groups that have purposed to be apolitical have laws that govern such. It is not a violation of the First for those groups to prohibit certain speech which violates their charters or statements of faith; in fact, the First protects their right to do so.

Not only does the First Amendment hold the right of expression for the individual supreme in public, it also affords the right of private individuals and groups to protect their standards and beliefs. The Left is working to remove all protections of Free Speech. Through ignorance, the Right is helping them.

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Inoculated

 

We could wait for the dust to settle, but the frenzy never seems to lessen. The tension has ratcheted far beyond hyper to that screeching ripping sound right before everything snaps. Hour upon hour the American people are treated to an incessant volley of insults, hyperbole, and unhinged smears against this Nation, it’s people, and it’s President.

Should this be allowed? Can they attack the American people in this way? Yes, of course! The First Amendment’s strength is it’s ability to protect the speech you don’t want to hear.

While the media is protected by the First Amendment, the media is not the embodiment of the First Amendment. The Rights of Free Speech and Freedom of the Press are not enshrined in and exclusive to the mainstream media. Despite what liberal and conservative pundits alike opine, it is not an infringement of Free Speech to challenge the validity of the old line media as trustworthy news sources.

The President has done what most Republicans have failed to do and that is to push back against the dishonest media. Most Republicans have spent their entire political career cowering before the media and, like breath of fresh air, this President has come into office and done what every politician promises to do, fight for the people. A grim sense of satisfaction has swept the nation as they watch a bloodied tyrant flailing foolishly at a studied pugilist, who is giving the old despot his due.

President Trump has exposed for the Nation what he has known all along. The old line media is a failing commodity that has not placed a quality product on the market for some time. Were it not for forced viewing in airports and, sadly, validation by the White House, the old line media would barely make a ratings blip.

This is the irony. For all his bluster, Trump still validates these failed media institutions by allowing them a seat in the White House Press Corps. The negative attitudes, insults, and disdain of the American people are emboldened by the revered status a place in the Executive press room affords.

The First Amendment does not grant the media immunity from the Free Market. Free Speech does not or should not keep you impervious to the non-violent repercussions of said Free Speech. Yet, the established wisdom of today would have us believe that the old guard media are icons which have been inoculated against the demands of the consumer and innovation, therefore, cannot be changed. Will Free Speech really die with the demise of these rotting corpse, which are the media dinosaurs?

I think not. New and fresh voices are sounding an honest and clear call, a clarion that deserves recognition. Is it time for the White House to embrace this changing of the guard fully?

If the President truly believes that the dinosaur media is a failed, aging, outdated product that does not serve the people, then at the very least he must allow for new and fresh competition within the Press Corps. Can the President kick a news group out of the Press room? Why Not?!

Let the Free Market, the consumer, decide who their news source is. The White House should stop validating those news institutions who constantly disparage and attack the very fabric of our Nation, it’s people. They have the Freedom to do so, yes, but it is the President’s job to protect the interests of the people and the information highway is not a one horse carriage anymore.

-Andy Torbett

 

Audible

 

It’s not about the players. It’s not about the protests. It’s about the NFL.

The Roger Goodell NFL has been anything but glorious. For all his assurances of defending the shield, the self-righteous proclamation of the Commissioner has yielded nothing less than the opposite. The NFL shield has now become a tattered, tainted symbol of lawlessness, disrespect, and selfish hypocrisy.

Consider the pattern that has brought the nation to at least a momentary disgust with the most dominant professional sport in the United States. Goodell’s first “defense of the shield” was to ban happy dance celebrations in the end zone. Randy Moss could no longer “moon” Packers fans in the end zone.

Who can forget the improper spinning of the football? This was also regulated. Goodell was determined to make sure that football didn’t spin out of control. (I just couldn’t help myself.)

Then came the minuscule suspension for a player beating his pregnant girlfriend senseless in an elevator. Only after being publicly taken to task by Maine Governor Paul LePage, did the NFL decide to administer a more appropriate suspension. The NFL continues to tolerate repeated domestic violence within it’s ranks.

But then the NFL decided to morph into a political entity. When the sovereign State of Georgia passed legislation to protect the Free Speech and Religious Freedom rights of ministers to refuse to perform gay marriages, the NFL threatened to remove the Super Bowl from their State. In remarkable display of cowardice the Governor of Georgia vetoed the bill, effectively knuckling under to the NFL.

Now the new bully of political spectrum was feeling very full of themselves. They banned socks and shoes that had improper support of the 9-11 tragedy. They banned the support of fallen police officers on NFL helmets. They mocked Christian players for kneeling before the game prayer.

Until now. Now, it works for them. Kneeling now is another way the NFL can throw it’s weight around and tell the fans it doesn’t give a rat’s hairy hindquarters what they think; in fact, the NFL thinks that protesting fans and the President of the United States need to show the NFL, the “proper respect”, Goodell’s own words.

The NFL calls an audible on what expression is allowed and what is not because they have very little to fear in the form of reprisal in the Free Market. Given non-profit status by the Federal Government, with rabid fans who are so addicted to the game they will ignore any disgusting behavior just so they can have their Sunday fix, and a populace whose value system is somewhere between nada and nil, the NFL has very little reason to behave itself and the more reason to throw it’s shoulders at it’s viewers. They will sit there, take it,and wait with bated breath for the next game.

License To Hate

 

We have become such an “in-the-moment” society always searching for that singular rush, craving that fleeting buzz of pleasure. The concepts of forethought, responsibility, and repercussions in relation to our actions are nearly non-existent and are at best viewed as arcane, irrelevant in a licentious world. In a pleasure oriented society, the goal becomes feelings.

Each bump against convention is replaced with a deepening revolt against the norm as the heady flush of rebellion is dulled in turn demanding some new outrage to fulfill the ever burgeoning need to feel. Guilty pleasures are no longer enough so tantrums become the vehicle to supply the sensory demands. Violence is mixed in to create the greater escalation until finally layered with the ultimate payback. When the moment or even moments pass in the quest to feel, the king of the mountain surveys the wreckage upon which he or she stands  only to once again face the expanse of emptiness.

In times past, this pattern of self-destruction would be attributed to youthful waywardness and/or a individual’s propensity to learn things the hard way. Sadly now it seems the insatiable quest for feelings has rubbed the natural sensors so raw that we are dulled witless beyond even the natural cycle of lessons learned. Like the punch drunk pugilist, we are simply flailing against shadows and blurred images as the brain’s cognitive abilities shut down and the boxer falls unconscious.

No where was this better exemplified than the outrageous behavior at the campus of U.C. Berkeley. In an insane battle of anarchist versus anarchists, the most violent prevailed as the cowards in leadership of the school quailed in the face toddler-like tantrums. The First Amendment suffered another loss.

Across the broad spectrum of leadership in our Nation, from parenting to government, leadership has failed its society by accepting the childish excuse of “He made me do it!” as reasons for pathetic behavior instead of responding with the time proven principle of “I’m not dealing with him, I’m dealing with you!”, which forces said childish perpetrator to embrace the edicts of personal responsibility. The First Amendment allows for Milo Yiannopoulos’ despicable speech. It affords for students to protest his speech. It does not allow for violence to shut down the aforementioned despicable speech.

I don’t know much about Milo and this new alt-right, which is hijacking the conservative movement. What little I have read is repulsive to me and violates my core beliefs. But free speech is not free unless it is free for everyone and if my beliefs are so fragile that I cannot hear other beliefs contrary to mine, then my beliefs are fragile indeed and not worthy of my trust.

I watch now the vicious swing of the political pendulum and the punch back that is becoming the norm wondering if it will ever stop. Both sides keep pointing and saying “They made me do it!” I agree with Senator Marco Rubio when he warns we are flirting with a complete destruction of the treasure of civil debate. We cannot critique the President from either side, in the last eight years or with this new President, without a barrage of attacks and hate.

Yes, it is true that for eight years the left protected the President with blind loyalty and fealty that was appalling at best. Yet now it seems the strike back for this President is the same fealty that precludes him from any criticism without backlash. The mistakes of the last regime are not a license for the hate and retribution that I see from so-called conservatives as of late. If we truly want to make America Great Again we must remember that decency and civility was once the hallmark of this great Nation and avoid the shortsighted desire for the fleeting pleasure of payback, power, and to be king of the mountain.1